Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything

Camera on Lumia 800 – It is snappier like Nokia N9, but sure not lives up to the Carl Zeiss Branding: 

Like the heading itself says if you are looking for a Nokia N8 or even Nokia N86 like picture quality from Nokia Lumia 800, then you sure going to be disappointed, but if you are looking for a combination of performance and quality, then camera unit on Nokia Lumia 800 stocks well against its non-Nokia competitors.

If we talk about the camera hardware then we should follow the same details at Nokia Conversation posted about camera unit in Nokia N9 because hardware wise, both the cameras are exactly identical.

This is the same specially crafted lens by Carl Zeiss to match the needs of Nokia specifically and same are the reasons that how Nokia been able to achieve 7mp in 16:9 while 8mp in 4:3. So, we can again refer to list of same features excluding a few as its been in Nokia N9:

  • Industry-first imaging sensor which is FULLY optimised for BOTH 16:9 AND 4:3 images
  • Industry-leading Carl Zeiss optics
  • Super wide-angle optics – the widest in the industry. Up to as much as 60% more viewing area than other broadly comparable devices
  • f/2.2 aperture – largest ever in a mobile device
  • Extremely responsive, especially switching from stills to video and vice-versa and shot to shot
  • Full time continuous AF in video
  • HD video with stereo audio (still one of very few devices that provide high quality audio recording in video)
  • Seamless workflows optimised for speed sharing
  • Zoom in to images directly in the post capture view, edit and share all without leaving the camera – the most seamless mobile imaging experience
  • New high power dual LED flash – 20% more powerful than our previous most powerful LED flash despite its compact size
  • AMBR – Automatic Motion Blur Reduction


But as some of you would have noticed, it misses a few things from Nokia N9, all of which are mostly software related and not only this, but the results from Lumia 800 come noticeably inferior than Nokia N9 in many other areas too, which again outlines the same fact that you may get the best hardware, but making a true imaging flagship like Nokia Symbian devices used to requires specialized image processing algorithms. Definitely, the camera hardware and camera systems in Windows Phone aren’t perfectly matched yet.

Future updates to the phone will almost certainly improve camera performance, both in terms of colour balance and raw speed, but yes this will remain as an era of improvement, where Microsoft will badly need the specialization of team at Nokia and people like @phonedaz (hope Damian is already working on it).

Coming back to Camera on Nokia Lumia 800, we are again doing in-justice with the device by comparing it with the Titans. Take a look over it again with the perspective that its one of those best Imaging devices that Windows Phone lineup would have got till date. Once you run through the camera interface and settings, you will come to know that more than the preciseness, focus was to create an experience that is focused over speed and simplicity more (just like the overall experience of Windows Phone). But at the same time, I wont justify the performance of Lumia camera as we seen that with a similar sized sensor and same Windows Phone platform, HTC Titan produces kind of better colors over Nokia Lumia 800. Anyway… let’s see things with Lumia here …

As about predefined stills settings on Nokia Lumia 800, then our @AAS team has done this very well here and I thought to just repeat the same:

  • 10 predefined ‘scenes‘ (Auto, Backlight, Beach, Candlelight, Macro, Landscape, NIght, Potrait, Snow, Sports, Sunset)
  • 5 predefined ‘white balance‘ settings (Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade)
  • A range of ‘exposure’ adjustments from +3 to -3 stops in 0.5 increments – if you know what you’re doing…
  • A range of four ‘ISO settings’, from 100 to 800 – only  for specialists
  • 3 different ‘metering modes‘ (Frame average, Centre spot, Centre Weighted as default)
  • 5 predefined ‘effects‘ (Normal, Black and White, Sepia, Negative and Solarise)
  • 4 contrast levels, from ‘Low’ to ‘Maximum’
  • 4 saturation levels, from ‘Low’ to ‘Maximum’
  • 2 focus modes – ‘Normal’ and ‘Macro’
  • 4 resolutions: ‘8MP 4:3’, ‘7MP 16:9’, ‘3MP 4:3’, ‘2MP 16:9’, why no 5MP? May be physics


There will also be three modes for flash that is Auto, Always on, No Flash.

The most pathetic part would be the step wise zooming that was so annoying for my use case. You can not increase the zoom continuously, like the way you were able to do with Nokia N8 but you need to rely on those ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons on the screen. Why not controlled by Volume buttons only?

As about focusing, then probably Lumia was the first camera, where I was able to take Macro Shots even from the Auto Mode, but the huge disappointment was the color processing that I almost never succeeded to get right indoors or even in outdoors with low light. Somehow, no matter what mode/settings I am trying, I always ended with grainy images or greenish spots. So, it might be these review units alone, but white balance been something terrible for me with Nokia Lumia 800.


Even Focusing part that I praised about in first line, is terrible in the sense that somehow Camera Hardware and Software don’t know what they are doing and you get the same focused rectangular sign and even sound even if it failed to focus, like software is just deceiving the user about the focus status without any input from the hardware itself. I would call it a major fail from Camera lovers perspective.


The video part has almost the same set of settings excluding the last two, where Focus has changed into toggle between Autofocus or not and Resolution has changed into 720p or VGA. Flash settings have also changed into two options video light on or off. Also while shooting the video, you will always have the duration being shown in very big fonts, which might be annoyance for a few and might be a bliss to some. Not sure, if there is a setting to turn that off.

You may find a visual tour of settings in the above video that I taken in Nokia Lumia India Launch party.

As about Quality part, then there were very less complaints with the video mode in comparison to still mode. Even Auto Focus in Low light worked almost as good as required. Check the sample given below:

The Zoom control is obviously not mapped with Volume key here as well, but the non-continuous zoom (+,- keys) actually makes a good sense in Video shooting. Though you still can’t Zoom in between the process of taking a video but the good news is that you get full sensors\Mega Pixels upto 3X Digital zoom rather than just zooming the video (just like N86\N8). Some good tips about the Lumia 800 Camera video part can be found at @AAWP post about the same here.

If you ask me then I would totally blame the software part for making things go wrong about colors etc (not always wrong but almost half the time for me) and can safely say that its Auto settings that might seems so simple to work with but in actual doesn’t get the things right (most of the white balance issues can be eliminated by just choosing Daylight\Cloudy etc settings rather than Auto). I am not saying that one should not trust Auto settings of Nokia Lumia 800, but anyone who wants to take good pictures with quality colors, should definitely fiddle with them. We have seen with Nokia N9 that how much capable hardware part is.

Lovely part about the camera UI is the Gallery option integrated inside that actually involves the Camera Roll part only. Just like Nokia N9, in Nokia Lumia 800 or any other Windows Phone, you can always flick the screen to right to go into pics gallery snapped by the camera, zoom it, share it, auto-fix it or whatever you were used to do with the Gallery itself and then come back to camera whenever you want by flicking left side in same way. Pinch any of the pics and you get kind of film strip. Neat isn’t it.

As about sharing options, then it is somewhat like Android or Meego, I would say, more closer to MeeGo concept of sharing thing. You can share a picture or video almost instantly just after shooting the same via more (…) menu and then share. Though I am unsure of the quality part though as it seemed to be down sampling the output (sure about videos, not sure about pictures). Sad to see intentional removal of Google Services like Picasa, Youtube or even Yahoo’s Flickr in share options (even the apps who does the upload, don’t get their place in share menu of Windows Phone).


So, this is pretty much about everything on Nokia Lumia 800 Camera.

Though I will agree with @AAWP on the statement that “70% lower sensor surface area and smaller pixels mean that, even with improvements in sensors themselves (including Back Side Illumination) photos produced from any of these devices are that far further from ‘standalone’ quality” but I would also add that its majorly fault of Nokia Lumia 800 software part as we seen that what the same sensor can do with Nokia N9. Even a Windows Phone like HTC Titan does a lot better than Nokia Lumia 800 in case of stills at least.


26 thoughts on “Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything

  1. Nice review , by the way about OTA , it’s a wp7 limitation and not lumia , soon wp in market currently supports OTA same is true about other few features.

  2. Good post , though I must say I couldn’t read it in one go 🙂
    Even though I havent used or tried any WP device for more than half an hour, I just hated UI and how it looks. I don’t think that perception of ugly,over simplified UI will change.
    As expected and read all over for me 3 things stand out for WP. These can make it success.
    1) People Hub
    2) Brilliant Office Suite ( and its FREE)
    3) Email

    But sadly I feel Nokia is going away from their soul and going Apple way.
    This may be good for company(I really doubt) but not good for industry as whole.

    1. Suyog,
      I had similar sentiments about WP UI before trying it myself. Even I mentioned once that I felt those uneven fonts as ugly. But trust me, views are bound to change once you allow it grow over you. Not all the praises going around are dummy.

      1. Agree with Nitish, once I got my hands on Lumia 800, I didn’t like UI for few hours or a day and missed home screens. But later, started loving the UI and now I am a fan of UI. 🙂

    2. People hub is exceptional as just like Meego it brings all social activities at one place and like WebOS it brings all the photos (even twitter ones).
      So in all, people hub will effectively help people managing their social needs without going behind any apps that is a great thing for n00bs or even people coming from Symbian/Meego.

      Second great thing is speed of UI that literally no offers either be Symbian or Android

  3. Suyog, I’ll agree with Nitish.. in just two words…. you will see my views about it changing too… it’s actually a good UI. there are however some features that really were needed but if talking about UI, seriously I think if I was given more time with it I would been liking this UI. and I’ll not say like many out there that “Windows Phone 7.5” is not that good to be used.

    But still I’ll say that MeeGo on N9 (for its given time) has been the most *Mature* smartphone OS (in most of the aspects) among all of them.

    And Nitish; that really is great post above, I’ll try to read it completely 😛

  4. Very interesting article, Nitish. I’m very exited with Windows phone on Nokia, but lack of BT and file transfer worries me. Nokia has been great among other things because of its flexibility and versatility. Does is support USB on the go, like my N8? What about something small but GREAT in functionality, notification light? Man, I think Nokia should never get rid of this. It helps the user so much to see through a notification light, that you have a missed event.

  5. Quite a thorough article on the Lumia 800(& upcoming 900)windows phone. The most important things for me are:i’m not going to sell a Rolls Royce to ride a better handlind motorcycle-ie,my Nokia E7-00 vs any Lumia! No storage! No tethering! No bluetooth! No sale!

  6. One of the most comprehensive review of Lumia 800 I have read. sheer Brilliant.

    Are u still using this device? How is the battery life holding up for you?

    Any word on Lumia 900 launch date in india?


  7. The best review of WP that I have seen , kudos to u Mr. Kumar ! U r right , the Lumia 800 is beautiful ; it should be since it`s a copy of the N9 ! But that same design is also a problem in certain areas of the world ( more about this in a bit . ) .
    i`ve always said that WP has potential but it`s still immature ( Takes 3 years to work out enough of the bus and work enough features in , to make the OS useful . ) , seriously late to the party and there r too many other OEMs trying to get a piece of the pie . In all fairness to Nokia , they haven`t had a chance to make an impact on WP yet , maybe WP8 will change this . Nor have the Lumias been out too long , though this is changing . So it`s still a bit early to say for sure .
    That said , WP hasn`t exactly taken off yet , marketshare is still single digits . Nor do I like the Metro UI , though my issue with it is more function than form ( but I do think it`s ugly !) . I firmly believe that a homescreen should convey enough info to keep u current at a glance , and the Metro UI doesn`t do this . Even Windows Mobile could do this !
    WP`s biggest problem , IMHO , is it`s requirements for a constant connection and Skydrive . Not so much a problem in developed countries , but in emerging markets with their infrastructure issues and the need to watch data usage, it`s a different thing entirely . I don`t think WP will do well in emerging markets ( It seems to not be … ) , though it also doesn`t seem to be doing well in many developed countries either , with the USA , Finland and Russia as notable exceptions .
    Nor will do well in countries where the N9 was a success, most notably China , due to the problem that WP is functionally inferior to Meego , and Symbian , for that matter . even the new 311 is better from what I can tell !
    For these reasons , I don`t see WP as more than moderately successful , assuming it takes off , of course ! Maybe WP8 will change this , ir really needs too ! cheers !

  8. On second thought , looks like the 10/19/2012 post MIGHT have a reply so I take back the previous remark , t least to an extent lol…

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